In 2018, Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson began dating, got engaged and broke up all within the span of around six months, with their whirlwind romance helping to inspire Grande's latest album, Thank U, Next.
In a new interview with Vogue, Grande opened up about her relationship with the Saturday Night Live star, revealing that her friends had convinced her to move to New York City from Los Angeles for the summer.
"My friends were like, ‘Come! We’re gonna have a fun summer,’" she recalled. "And then I met Pete, and it was an amazing distraction. It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him."
"I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist," she added. "I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff."
Grande ultimately named Davidson in her massive hit song "thank u, next," along with exes Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez and the late Mac Miller. The song appeared on the album of the same name and Grande shared that the period during which it was made was one of the first times she had been single as an adult.
"I think that this is the first album and also the first year of my life where I’m realizing that I can no longer put off spending time with myself, just as me. I’ve been boo’d up my entire adult life," she said. "I’ve always had someone to say goodnight to. So Thank U, Next was this moment of self-realization. It was this scary moment of ‘Wow, you have to face all this stuff now. No more distractions. You have to heal all this s—.'"
Miller passed away in September 2018, and Grande and Davidson split the next month, with those two events culminating in an album Grande doesn't fully remember making.
"My friends know how much solace music brings me, so I think it was an all-around, let’s-get-her-there type situation,” she said. “But if I’m completely honest, I don’t remember those months of my life because I was (a) so drunk and (b) so sad. I don’t really remember how it started or how it finished, or how all of a sudden there were 10 songs on the board."
The Florida native explained that while she has opened up about her experiences in her music and with fans, she still prefers to keep the majority of her feelings to herself.
"I’m a person who’s been through a lot and doesn’t know what to say about any of it to myself, let alone the world. I see myself onstage as this perfectly polished, great-at-my-job entertainer, and then in situations like this I’m just this little basket-case puddle of figuring it out," she said. "I have to be the luckiest girl in the world, and the unluckiest, for sure. I’m walking this fine line between healing myself and not letting the things that I’ve gone through be picked at before I’m ready, and also celebrating the beautiful things that have happened in my life and not feeling scared that they’ll be taken away from me because trauma tells me that they will be, you know what I mean?"
Photo Credit: Getty / Jeff Kravitz
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